Our Quarterly Relationship Reflection
It’s been almost 3.5 years since the first time Andy asked me out for a dinner date. Though we were out for a few times before the dinner date, I saw them simply as friends catching-up, without realising his motives, in his words, I ‘friend-zoned’ him. But on the day of 9th May 2015, it was the first time we had both of our intentions aligned to define that dinner as a ‘date’. Even though that wasn’t the day we became boyfriend and girlfriend, we both decided that day as ‘our day’, since that’s when we officially started to be on the same page, romantically.
As time passes by, we grow as individuals and as a couple. We decided to set aside a ‘dinner date’ every half a year to reflect on our relationship, get our visions aligned and make sure we are on the same page again. From 2018, we decided to do it quarterly, after realising how powerful it is and how close we became every time after the session. We want to share what we learnt from this experience with everyone who is into building up their relationship and bringing it to the next level.
How did the review idea come alive?
We believe your partner is also your mirror, who helps you reflect who you really are, through conflicts within an intimate relationship. We often expect our partner to understand what we think and how we feel, but you might be surprised to know that it doesn’t always happen that way.
We acknowledge the fact that we are different, even with all the beautiful values that we share together. We have different upbringings, different experiences, different cultural influences and are from different countries. These differences play out through our actions, opinions and expectations on each other. We need to translate our behaviours and feelings to each other for our partners to understand where we are coming from. That’s why we set aside time for this special 'ceremony' for us to pause, reflect and re-connect.
What’s the review for?
It is for both of you to be aligned on the vision of the relationship, for you to iron out any mis-understandings, for you to share your vulnerabilities, for you to appreciate and cherish any differences, for you to identify areas for improvements, for you to celebrate past successes, for you to imagine and plan your future together.
How should I approach the review?
It’s a time for discovery and connection, for truly listen and effort to understand, before you try to be understood. It takes courage and trust to open up, to admit your own mistakes, share your own vulnerabilities. It is also an art to express your own discomforts in the relationship, without being perceived as judgmental or critical.
In any relationship, there is no absolute right or wrong. You are in the review to understand how you can make your partner feel more loved, rather than to prove yourself right - you can win an argument, but lose a relationship.
What’s the format like?
We take turn to ask each other questions and we agreed to be open, honest and candid with each other, about each question, no matter how hard it might feel at times.
(Image: taken from our very first relationship review at Southbank, London on 9th November 2015)